Baobab Bach currently has approximately 75 regular volunteers. Without our volunteers we could not run our Community Pantries, enhance wellbeing, pick up our food from local collection points or work on growing projects.
Every single one of our volunteers has a unique set of life skills; skills that we value very highly. Whether it is experience of the catering industry, working as a receptionist, the hospitality industry, a retailer or wholesaler, a keen gardener or bringing up children – all these skills play a vital part in providing a Community Pantry service, where wellbeing is as important as affordable food. Wellbeing applies to all – to our volunteers and staff as well as our all-important members.
We need people with good ‘people skills’ to chat with others, helping to reduce isolation and loneliness as well as people who can make cups of tea and coffee, people who are good organisers/administrators and those who like the repetitive but essential jobs of stacking shelves and rotating stock. In addition, we need drivers who can lift and carry packs and boxes of food, good cooks who can write recipes and gardeners who can advise on crops and planting schedules. There are very few people who can’t find a happy niche with us; we pride ourselves on being highly inclusive.
We value each and every one of our volunteers and are seeking to appoint a Volunteer Development Officer to take care of our volunteers’ interests, ensuring that they are well looked after and suitably trained for all eventualities. Our volunteer’s happiness is our first priority. Most volunteers love their roles and actively look forward to volunteering each week.
We provide training in level 2 Food Hygiene for volunteers who need this and encourage our partner organisations to give awareness talks and training where necessary. Our next network meeting will feature a talk from a Client Liaison Officer from Wales Against Illegal Money Lending. A local training company has been approached with regard to a lifting, moving and handling training course for inanimate loads. Two people, one director and one volunteer have completed the Nutrition Skills for Life course with Swansea Bay Health Board’s Nutrition & Dietetics Department.
Our regular network meetings enable volunteers to keep in touch and to bring forward their ideas for improving the service we offer. Many comments/suggestions made by volunteers in our meetings have been acted upon. For example, in the last meeting comments were made that since one of our suppliers changed from providing printed delivery notes to sending them out online, this had proved problematic. The reasons for this have now been discussed with the supplier, who are reviewing their procedures.
We are community led and have many partners; Registered Social Landlords, Employability, Bridgend Carers, Local Community Co-ordinators, Community Centres, Local Authority, retailers such as Coop, Tesco and Asda, Christians Against Poverty, Bridgend Foodbank (several of our volunteers are voucher issuers for the Foodbank too) and we believe in partnership working as much as possible, as this contributes massively to wellbeing. We are all stronger together!
If you would like to know more about volunteering with Baobab Bach, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 07544 026265.